Often, after pointing out someone’s error from the Bible, you will hear, “It’s not right to condemn others. ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.'” Notice that the complaint criticizes criticism–you cannot have it both ways! Is there any biblical precedent for condemning error in the religious world?
Jesus said, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides…Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt. 23:13-33). This sounds like condemnation to us.
In another place, Jesus said to an audience of Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (Jn. 8:44). Also, “Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you” (Jn. 8:55). The Lord and Savior did not shy away from plainly telling his audience that they were in sin. So, why should we?
When Jesus exposed the error of others, did he love them? Did he have concern for their souls? We submit that it was because Jesus loved men and was concerned for their souls that he exposed their error in no uncertain terms. For, if they continued in their sin, their souls would suffer an eternal damnation. Therefore, to point out where others are wrong and urge them to do what is right, is an expression of genuine love–it is to follow in the steps of the Savior! “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6).
Won’t you have faith in Christ, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as Christ, and be immersed for the remission of your sins (Jn. 8:24; Acts 3:19; 8:36-38; 2:38).
Steven F. Deaton